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It’s been 12 years since the very first Whitecourt Ride for Mom event took place in support of the Alzheimer Society. In those years, many riders suited up and joined the cruise helping to raise close to $150,000. Thanks to wet and cold weather, this year’s ride was cancelled due to safety reasons but that didn’t stop a big group of people from coming out for the fundraiser barbecue.
Organizers Joanne Bates Belke and Terry Wise joined Arlene Huhn, Manager of Client Services & Programs with the Alzheimer Society to announce a new project coming in the fall. “We’ve been trying to get out to some of the rural areas to create support locally. Our goal is to have family members who’ve lived through this disease help other family members and we will provide them with the support to do that. We have Joanne arranged to do that here.”
Being able to offer support to the local community on a consistent basis is something that Joanne is very much looking forward to being a part of. “It’s been a little while coming. My mom fought the disease for many years and passed away two and a half years ago. I have talked to a lot of people in the community about it but now just to get us all together and realize that we are all going through the same thing is just exciting.”
Raffle tickets sold very quickly and, with only a handful left a couple of days prior, Joanne posted on social media. Within two hours of her post all remaining tickets were spoken for with more being requested. “It’s overwhelming because even before we printed them there were people calling and saying, give me a book and I’ll go sell them for you. It’s just the kind of community we live in. It’s amazing.” Plans for next year include more tickets and a longer selling period. “It’s phenomenal and humbling,” added Terry.
Over 50 prizes were donated to the cause by local businesses. “The odds of winning are fantastic so remember that for next year,” laughed Joanne.
Next year, special guests will be taking part in the ride, “The Veterans Riders club out of Edmonton was going to join us this year but due to the weather making it unsafe to ride they have now put us down as their first ride for next year. There could be anywhere from 20 to 250 of them. We would be overfull and that would be fantastic,” said Terry.
For more information on the upcoming support group, call Joanne at 780-706-6861 or you can catch her at Mountain Pizza & Steak House.